Driver Quotes: Abu Dhabi GP qualifying




03 NOVEMBER 2012


Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel

“Third in Q3 was a good effort, but I should have done a bit better on the final lap. I had a little mistake in the final sector of my last flying lap, but it was still good to be third. I’m not sure what the issue was at the end, I was just told to switch off the car.”

Mark Webber

“I’m pleased with that, it was a good qualifying and I felt happy with the car. The track temperatures moved around from the afternoon to this evening, so you have to be careful how the car performs, but I felt comfortable in all three sessions and got a good momentum. McLaren were strong, but we’re in a good position and can have a good race from there.”

Christian Horner

“During the slow down lap following the final run of Q3, Renault instructed to immediately stop Sebastian’s car on the circuit due to an issue with the fuel system. After speaking with the stewards, who accepted the situation of force majeure for technical reasons for the car to be stopped, unfortunately, for reasons yet to be fully understood, 850ml of the required one litre was pumped out of the car following post race checks. As a result, the FIA has excluded Sebastian from qualifying and we will withdraw the car from Parc Ferme in order to investigate further. Therefore Sebastian will start from the pit lane for tomorrow’s race. We will need to make the most of Mark’s strong front-row grid position and Sebastian will have a busy evening ahead of him.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton

“Those extra three-tenths came from my family! Our car works incredibly well around here. Our aero

package really suits this track; the set-up was perfect, and everything came together perfectly for

qualifying. My lap felt really great I enjoyed it so much. I love this track! Still, I’m realistic: the race

tomorrow is going to be tough. At the start, it’s down to the team to make sure the clutch performs

perfectly because the getaway will be incredibly important. Our race pace is very strong, but so is Red

Bull’s and staying ahead will be tough, particularly with the double DRS zones. I really want to finish on

a high for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. I’ll give it everything I’ve got tomorrow.”

Jenson Button

“I shouldn’t really be starting this far back. All weekend, I’ve been pretty happy with the car, but,

for some reason, we just couldn’t find the pace in qualifying and we don’t know why. Obviously,

our car is very quick around here Lewis put it on pole by quite a margin so there’s some more

time to find. While starting sixth will make the race more difficult, there are two good DRS

overtaking zones, so hopefully there’ll be plenty of overtaking. Also, our race pace has looked

good all weekend, so I’m still feeling optimistic.”

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

Fernando Alonso

“In all three free practice sessions, we were always around this position, so it would have been too

optimistic to hope for more in Q3: a place between fifth and eighth was within our expectations going

into the session and that’s where we are. I did almost the same time on three occasions between Q2

and Q3, which means there was nothing more to come. I am pleased with the work we have done

today, because we squeezed every last drop of performance out of the car. The updates we brought

here have improved our performance but the others have not been relaxing on the sofa watching

television while twiddling their thumbs…Usually, Saturday is the day we suffer the most, while on

Sunday things always go better: let’s hope that will also be the case this time. It’s also true that with so

little tyre degradation, the strategic choices are much more limited and so too the opportunities to make

up places. We know that in the three remaining races, we must score fourteen points more than Vettel

and that is our one and only objective.”

Felipe Massa

“This is definitely a rather difficult and complicated weekend, at least up until tonight. We were

hoping to be able to start a bit further up, at least on the front three rows of the grid. In Q3, I opted to

run a different programme to my team-mate, partly because I only had one set of new Options

available. Looking back, one could say that was not the best choice, but it’s always easy to be wise

with hindsight. I did not have all the updates we brought here: that was definitely not great, but

looking at Fernando’s result, it didn’t make a difference. On the last lap I had a bit of oversteer in one

corner which cost me a few hundredths: maybe I could have been eighth but it would not have

changed much. Honestly, today it would have been hard to do more than this. Let’s hope that

tomorrow, thanks to a race pace that is traditionally our strong point, we can make up some places.

This circuit seems to suit some cars particularly well: the McLaren was not this quick in the last three

races, but here Hamilton took pole really smoothly.”

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

Nico Rosberg

“Qualifying worked out well for us today as P8 was our target and we were able to achieve that

position. I’m ahead of a Ferrari and a Lotus so that’s a good step, and we have made some

improvements with our set-up work this weekend. Thanks to my mechanics today who did a great job

to fix an issue with the brakes just before qualifying and make sure that the car was ready in time. It

won’t be an easy task for us to move up the field tomorrow but I’m looking forward to the race and to

seeing what we can achieve.”

Michael Schumacher

“My qualifying did not exactly go according to plan today. We changed our approach a little for the

last run in Q2, and then I did not properly make use of it in the first sector and particular in turn one.

So we are not quite where we would want to have qualified but I will certainly try to make the best out

of my starting position tomorrow.”

Lotus F1 Team

Kimi Raikkonen

“Qualifying was good. The car hasn’t felt fantastic all weekend but we decided we weren’t going to

change the car’s set-up from where it was for the last race. It was the right choice because in the end

the circuit came to us in qualifying where the car was the best it has been so far here. We’ll give

tomorrow our best shot; Let’s see if we can make a good start to get right behind the Red Bulls, and

then we’ll see what happens after that.”

Romain Grosjean

“It wasn’t a great qualifying lap for me today, and P10 is not where we want to be on the grid. In the last

run in Q3 I had no grip so wasn’t able to find more pace. The car had felt fine before that and we looked

good through the other qualifying sessions. It just means I have some more work to do in the race and I

think there’s more to come from me and the car.”

Williams F1

Pastor Maldonado

“It was a difficult session, especially in Q2 as we were on the limit in P10, but I saw the potential in

the car. We then found a great balance in Q3 and I’m happy that we are back to looking strong

again. I think we showed throughout all the weekend that we are competitive and I did my best in

qualifying. I’m really happy for the team, for myself and looking forward to the race tomorrow. Points

are very important for us so I will be pushing to the maximum.”

Bruno Senna

“I never want to be out of the top ten in qualifying but this weekend we have had a few problems, so

that is how it is. Hopefully tomorrow the car will be quick in the race as we have a competitive car.

We’ll work hard tomorrow and will still be trying to get into the points. For sure it is a track with some

overtaking opportunities with the DRS so hopefully we can make some use of that and use it to our


Sahara Force India

Nico Hulkenberg

“I expected a bit more from today, but it seemed that our car was no so competitive in the cooler

temperatures because I felt much happier during final practice in the sunny conditions. So maybe the

lower temperatures caught us out. I will start from eleventh, just one position away from the points, and

I have a free choice of tyres so hopefully we can use that to our advantage to come away with some


Paul Di Resta

“I’ve been struggling with the balance and the car has been quite difficult to drive this weekend, so it

was always likely to be quite a tough qualifying session. Our long run pace hasn’t looked too bad but

I’m just struggling to get the ultimate performance from the car. We’re still in a reasonable position to

try and score points and I’m feeling comfortable in the new chassis. We will play the long game

tomorrow because I think it’s likely to be one of those races where tyres will probably last longer than


Sauber F1 Team

Sergio Pérez

“My last lap was a good one and I think this is just about the maximum possible for us here. Q3 today

wasn’t within reach, although yesterday I hoped it would be. I have confidence in our race pace and

believe we will be able to score points tomorrow.”

Kamui Kobayashi

“I have been struggling with the balance of the car since we got here. We did a lot of changes and

managed to improve it to a certain extent, but I still had problems with the front brakes locking. This

was also the reason for the mistake on my final flying lap in Q2. I hit the brakes, the front wheels locked

and that was it. I think in race conditions we should be better, but it won’t be easy to improve. The

circuit allows for overtaking, but you also need to have the speed for it.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo

“So far, it’s been a harder weekend for us than we had expected. We definitely made progress today,

compared to where we were on Friday, which is positive, but in the end it was not enough to move us

higher up the grid. Everything went smoothly on my side of the garage, apart from losing a lap on the

Prime, when my headrest was moving and I had to come in to have it fixed. I think this motivated me to

then do two really good laps and the pace on the Option was okay, showing we had made progress

again, not just from yesterday, but also from this morning. However, we are not where we want to be.

Strategy will be a key to having a good race tomorrow and like in India a one stop could be possible for

some cars.”

Jean-Éric Vergne

“It’s quite frustrating to fail to make it to Q2 today. We have been struggling all weekend with understeer

and we are still trying to do our maximum and I was pushing a lot. We really only had one lap to see

where the balance was this afternoon and the car seemed to be going the other way towards oversteer

and I made a mistake. That doesn’t mean I will have to fight the car all the time tomorrow, because

there are still things we can do like playing with the front flap and tyre pressures to improve the situation

for the race but it’s going to be a tough night tomorrow.”

Caterham F1 Team

Heikki Kovalainen

“I’m pretty pleased with my final lap but I know there was more pace in the car. My first run on the

medium tyres was ok but on the second run on the softs I had a problem with the DRS that meant I

wasn’t able to really attack the high speed corners and that cost me a bit of time. Despite that I think

we’re looking ok for tomorrow. The balance feels better with the lower track temperatures we had for

quali and that’ll most likely be the same tomorrow for the race, so hopefully I can have another good

start and see how hard we can push the cars ahead.”

Vitaly Petrov

“Honestly I’m a little bit disappointed with where I’ve ended up in quali today because I thought the

car would be a bit quicker than it was. We had a slightly tricky FP3 and tried a couple of setup

options to find a good balance and when I went out for my first run in Q1 it didn’t really feel like I

could push. It felt better on the softs and on my fastest lap I was looking good up to turn 17 but a bit

of traffic after that held me up just enough to cost me time. The good thing is that the car definitely

felt better when the track temperatures had dropped a bit so I think we’ll be ok tomorrow.”

Hispania Racing F1 Team

Pedro de la Rosa

“We completed a good practice and qualifying session. I was comfortable in the car and I’m sure that

I could have improved by a couple of tenths but surely the rest could have too. The car was running

well and we had no problems with the temperature of the brakes or the engine at a circuit like this

one which is so hot, so I’m happy. I think we’ve got good pace for tomorrow’s race and the first

objective is to get off to a good start and keep close to the Marussias. We should try to go for one

stop, hope for the rear tyres to hold out and try and put some pressure on our rivals.”

Narain Karthikeyan

“It was a tough qualifying session for me. It’s my first time racing in Abu Dhabi and, being such a

technical circuit, I’m finding it tougher than expected. I didn’t manage to string together a good lap; I

was running well on the first set of tyres but with the second set I found traffic and the rear tyres wore

out before I could improve my time. Although I’m not entirely comfortable at this circuit, tomorrow I

will give everything like always to try and put in a good performance and finish the race.”

Marussia F1 Team

Timo Glock

“Not a bad day overall but a disappointing end when it counted unfortunately. This morning, at the start

of FP3, we struggled a little, but at the end we arrived at a good set-up. We carried this through to

qualifying and seemed to have good momentum all the way through until the last, most important, lap

when his car had no grip. Until then we were fighting hard with the Caterhams, so it’s a little

disappointing. So now we will have to go through the usual analysis tonight and see what we can find

for tomorrow.”

Charles Pic

“I am really very happy with my qualifying session today. I had a very good car; the balance was almost

perfect. I lost a little bit of time in the second sector of my quick lap and that is how Kovalainen was able

to get ahead. I have to be happy with the lap though as it represents my best qualifying result of the

season, so a great result for me and the Team. I have to say thanks to my car crew because they

worked very late last night, but I hope today was some reward for their efforts. I am now looking forward

to the race tomorrow; the start should be quite interesting with the cars around me. I also hope to be

able to make the same progress as we did in India and keep improving through the whole race. The

objective is again to stay in touch with the Caterhams.”

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